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Prof Lewis hosts tour of St Helena

Date Released: Fri, 15 April 2011 07:35 +0200

Professor Colin Lewis, professor emeritus of Rhodes, will be leading a tour of the remote South Atlantic island of St Helena introduced by St Helena Line. This will be a 22-day Hideaway Tour departing from Cape Town aboard the Royal Mail Ship St Helena on June 17. 

Prof Lewis is an expert on St Helena, its history and natural environment and he will offer insight into this British outpost, taking travellers beyond the guidebook. “I will give a series of talks about St Helena while the ship is sailing from Cape Town to Jamestown, the capital of St Helena,” said Lewis. “I will also mingle with the passengers and talk to them as best I can about the topics that interest them about the island.”

About three years ago, Lewis was invited by the St Helena Line to lead a tour in the hope that it would encourage tourism to the island. “I did so and even though there were few participants, the tour, the itinerary for which I planned, indicated the potential for environmental tourism on St Helena,” he said. Now he has agreed to lead a second environmental tour.

St Helena's government is anxious to develop the economy of the island, which only has about 4000 inhabitants and believe that tourism is the best chance of self-sufficiency.

Arriving at St Helena on June 22, the group will be joined by island residents Basil George and Vanessa Thomas for a fascinating and diverse eight-day itinerary. George, who used to be Director of Education for St Helena, will give a personal account of the island, the diversity of its landscape and the fascinating way of life for the people living there today.

Participants can expect to see beautiful scenery, visit cultural scenes like Napoleon's home at Longwood on the island, the oldest Anglican church in the Southern Hemisphere, walk in very fresh air and see the defences of this once highly fortified island.

The RMS St Helena carries a maximum of 128 passengers, but there will only be about ten in Lewis' group. “Most participants will be elderly, from highly educated backgrounds, with time to spare for a leisurely cruise,” said Lewis. “They will enjoy the atmosphere of an isolated outpost of Empire! Some of them will be fascinated by the strange plants that grow on the island, and will be talented botanists, others will be interested in folk lore, most will just want to relax,” he said.

The RMS arrives back in Cape Town on July 6. For more information contact Suzanne at Andrew Weir Shipping on 021 425 1165 or email suzanne@sthelenaline.co.za.